NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD gave a Staten Island teen a hero’s thank you Thursday after he rescued an elderly woman seen wandering on the side of a highway last week.

CBS2 first met 17-year-old Eric Roman next to his police badge collection. The aspiring NYPD officer told CBS2’s Ali Bauman how he helped rescue an 87-year-old woman who was alone and disoriented on the shoulder of the Staten Island Expressway.

Roman surprised her with flowers during the November 20 interview. On Thursday, it was his turn to be surprised.

After the Staten Island borough commander saw CBS2’s story, he invited Roman to the 122nd Precinct and awarded a certificate of appreciation.

Read More: Teen Steps In To Save 87-Year-Old Woman Seen Wandering On Staten Island Expressway

“For outstanding performance and lasting contributions to the citizens of Staten Island,” Chief Edward Delatorre said.

“Thank you very much, I appreciate it,” Roman replied.

Roman is part of the NYPD Explorers program, training for teens interested in law enforcement.

“He’s just a really good example of what the future of this city has in store for it,” said Delatorre.

Roman had no idea he would be recognized for, as he calls it, just doing the right thing.

“I figured I was going to sit down, ‘Oh hey thanks, Eric’ and then go along with my day,” he said.

Try as he might to stay humble for a round of applause, just over Roman’s shoulder, his mother couldn’t help but well up as she watched her son’s dreams start to come true.

“Very happy for him,” Genevieve Roman said.

In New York City, there are about 4,000 young adults in the explorer program. This is the first award of its kind ever given to an NYPD-hopeful in the entire borough.

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